The myth of the 97% climate change consensus

Is feminist scientist an oxymoron? Do we really need to push more women into coveted university slots just because they have an interest in STEM? Picture this: “One frequently cited source for the consensus is a 2004 opinion essay published in Science magazine by Naomi Oreskes, a science historian now at Harvard. She claimed to have examined abstracts of 928 articles published in scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and to have found that 75% supported the view that human activities are responsible for most of the observed warming over the previous 50 years, while none directly dissented.

“Ms. Oreskes’s definition of consensus covered “man-made” influences but left out “dangerous” – and excluded scores of articles by prominent scientists such as Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Sherwood Idso and Patrick Michaels, who question the consensus. Her methodology is also flawed. A study published earlier this year in the journal Nature noted that abstracts of academic papers often contain claims that aren’t substantiated in the papers – but she failed to acknowledge or address this.

“Another widely cited source for the consensus view is a 2009 article in Eos: Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, by Maggie Kendall Zimmerman, a student at the University of Illinois, and her master’s thesis adviser Peter Doran. It reported the results of a two-question online survey of selected scientists. Mr. Doran and Ms. Zimmerman claimed “97 percent of climate scientists agree” that global temperatures have risen, and that humans are a significant contributing factor.”

Watts Up With That?

97 percent- just dont lift the hat Image Credit – jpopasia.com

What is the origin of the false belief – constantly repeated by President Obama, the media and others – that almost all scientists agree about global warming?

Claims continue to be made that “97% of scientists agree that climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.” That’s what Secretary of State John Kerry told graduating Boston College students. It’s what President Obama said in his State of the Union address and a recent tweet.

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10 thoughts on “The myth of the 97% climate change consensus

  1. Well, you could easily disprove it by writing to your local climate scientists(who would almost certainly have public university emails) and asking them simply whether they believe that man is fully responsible for climate change, partly responsible for climate change, or not responsible at all for climate change. You might also ask them to add any other comments if they are not too busy. If any significant number voice doubts about man being at least PARTLY responsible for climate change I’d be surprised.

    You might also ask yourself why you see “Global Conspiracy” on the part of just about every government and every scientific association in the world (All the big prestigious and second rate ones back the consensus) but not at people who get most or all of their funding from fossil fuel interests and tend to not even have tangentially related degrees in the field (with VERY few exceptions).

    But then again, I’m assuming you don’t think you, yourself , are smarter than thousands of scientists of all types from all over the world and that you at least have a somewhat open mind on this subject. There is , after all, no end of sites that debunk the nonsense of Anthony Watts and such…I wonder why you haven’t availed yourself of them?

    • Do you believe that science is informed by democracy or majority opinion? How about this, does the loudest voice tend to be most correct? Does relative weight of funding improve scientific research?

      My bias is that I am informed with regard to the manufactured consensus that passes for modern nutrition theory and I see parallels between the history of nutrition theory (my specialty) and the rhetoric and patterns used in climate theory debate, framing, and media coverage.

      First of all, there are far more than two theories or two sides of the issue and neither will result in a reversal of the reality of peak oil.

      In addition, I note Al Gore’s strong ties with the Nuclear Power industry. It may be tempting to choose sides and decide one side is “bad” and the other “good”. However, I don’t believe that democracy necessarily informs those decisions in an age of media monopolization and sophisticated propaganda.

  2. I don’t propose to tell you nutrition theory, why do you propose to tell climate scientists climate?

    And what does your inability to accurately assess evidence for things outside of your educational field have to do with peak oil? I’m no ‘Doomer’ in terms of that – I believe the decline won’t be so steep that we won’t have time to substitute alternatives such as molten salt thorium reactors, solar power satellites, and other such technologies. Regardless, denial of climate change only makes things worse as it makes those who control the black gold more resistant to any efforts to wean ourselves off the substance.

    This assures that if I am wrong about the decline’s speed the disaster of peak oil will be all the worse.

  3. RE: “why do you propose to tell climate scientists climate?” I don’t. I merely align myself with climate scientists who are outside of the “consensus”. RE: “what does your inability to accurately assess evidence for things outside of your educational field have to do with peak oil?” I’ve already answered one of your questions and you have failed to answer any of mine. It’s your turn to answer one of my questions.

    I’m glad that you are optimistic about alternatives. I am also optimistic about alternatives which happen to differ from yours, for example tidal power, geothermal, and alternative fuels–whatever makes sense for the locality. I’m also an advocate of decentralization.

    As for “denial” I have reviewed radically differing sets of data and therefore I call “denial” those who deny that there exist radically differing sets of data. I don’t stand with those who resist efforts to wean ourselves off oil. There are more than two sides to this issue.

  4. I might have more to say later. Maybe not, I’m busy and must do some programming this weekend. But I assure you that this has nothing to do with you. I really expected snark or insults because on this subject for whatever reason (like abortion) there tends to be lots of emoting and lots of group-think and little thinking, or fair argumentation. You have surprised me with your rational and fair argumentation and on top of that I find we are not as far apart on this subject as your initial post led me to believe. I’ve seen you at Emma’s and at one or two other places (Dalrock, perhaps?) and now that I know a bit more of you my respect for you has increased.

  5. Here’s another prominent female player in the activism of climate “science”.

    An Open Letter to Dr. Marcia McNutt, new Editor-In-Chief, Science Magazine

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/04/an-open-letter-to-dr-marcia-mcnutt-new-editor-in-chief-science-magazine/

    An excerpt:

    “Your magazine taking a strong activist position on climate science is just evidence that you have abandoned all pretense of being concerned with climate science itself. When the science is strong it doesn’t need defenders … and if the Editor-In-Chief of Science feels it’s necessary to defend some part of science, that simply proves that the “science” involved must be of the weakest.

    “And regarding you personally taking a position? Well, that’s interesting. The problem is that you are extremely well educated, strong, strikingly good looking, and a wickedly-smart woman by all accounts … and while those are all good things, that’s a scary combination. One downside of that particular melange is that as a result, it’s very possible that people, particularly men, haven’t told you the unvarnished truth in years. So some of what I have to say may be a surprise to you.”

  6. Pingback: The Navel Orange and The Perfect Woman: The Ironic Failure of the California Eugenics Movement | caprizchka

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